There is a long-list of compilations that bear the name of this long-running soul quartet. The vast majority of these efforts show discernment in recognising that The Four Tops' best work came in their first spell with Tamla Motown (1964-1972). This cheaply-priced and pretty cheap-looking 2012 release, from the budget label Spectrum, does as well. It boasts some of their biggest and best hits from that period, including: 'Baby I Need Your Loving'; 'It's The Same Old Song'; 'I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)'; 'Reach Out, I'll Be There', and 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love'. With their powerful musical arrangements from Motown's in-house backing band the Funk Brothers, yearning lyrics courtesy of crack song-writing team Holland-Dozier-Holland, and stirring vocal performances from baritone lead singer Levi Stubbs, that quintet of tracks affirm why they were the lead male vocal group for the label at that time, despite stiff competition provided by the likes of The Temptations.
Unfortunately, there is also a lot of material missing from I Can't Help Myself that regularly appear on other showcases of The Four Tops' work, such as ballads like: 'Walk Away Renee'; 'It's All In The Game'; 'Still Water (Love)', and 'Ask The Lonely'. The inclusion of a couple of album tracks that are often overlooked - mildly diverting cover versions of Bobby Hebb's 'Sunny' and Fred Neil's 'Everybody's Talkin' - doesn't really provide suitable recompense for those omissions. Slightly more pricey selections with bold titles, such as The Ultimate Collection: Four Tops
or The Definitive Collection
, offer more persuasive introductions than this rather more plainly-subtitled 20 song CD.